Oh, how the tables have turned.
Now you can waste telemarketers' valuable time by patching their pesky calls through to a robot designed to keep them on the line as long as possible.
The bot, which sounds human (and, quite frankly, delightful!), is a clever computer program that acts like it's actually interested in what the telemarketer is saying.
According to his website, Roger Anderson created The Jolly Roger Telephone Company "as a hobby and a way to protect my own phone."
As of Feb. 22, Anderson's robot has already received 92,000 calls.
How to send telemarketers to the robot
Anderson says if you get a call on your iPhone or Android from a telemarketer and they ask to speak to you, just say, "Sure, hang on — he's right here…" and then follow these five steps:
Press "add call."
Dial his robot at 214-666-4321. While you're dialing, keep chatting into your phone with the telemarketer so they stay on the line.
Press "add call" or "merge call" or "conference" or whatever will add the robot to the conversation.
Mute yourself so your background noise doesn't affect the conversation.
Listen to the call or put your phone on speaker so you can continue with your life.
Hang up when the telemarketer hangs up. The robot will eventually hang up but it takes awhile.
If you want to do it from a landline, you have to have either the three-way calling or conference call features.
Anderson is asking the public to use his service "sparingly and with restraint."
"This robot is not meant to prank friends or wrong numbers. I built it to waste the time of the telemarketing industry."
The crew of CBC Radio's the Calgary Eyeopener gave the robot a whirl on Monday morning to find out just how smart it is. Angela Knight and David Gray pretended to be telemarketers and here's what happened:
Our favourite part was when the robot took the conversation in an entirely new direction.
"Hang on, there's a bee on my arm," said the bot.
"Go ahead and keep talking, say that part again and I'm just going to stay quiet 'cause of this bee."